By Clemens Spahr

Tackling themes akin to globalization and political activism, this booklet lines engaged poetics in twentieth century American poetry. Spahr presents a accomplished view of activist poetry, beginning with the good melancholy and the Harlem Renaissance and relocating to the Beats and modern writers equivalent to Amiri Baraka and Mark Nowak.

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In: G. Smith 244) The speaker, by contrast, affiliates with a collectivity that takes shape in the shadow of the scheming elite, as the workers have organized and developed a critical consciousness. The ironic use of “foreigners” here indicates that while the elite still hopes for an immigrant working class rifted along national divides, national differences have in fact been overcome in the name of an international solidarity. While the powers that be cling to structures that are already coming apart, the workers have built a new consciousness in the shell of the old; just as Hill turns a traditional Christian song into a protest song.

Bencivenni 261) and appeared in its English version in The Liberator in 1918. W. local, you will find an intellectual center—a place where men read philosophy, economics, the latest plays, novels; where art and poetry are discussed, and international politics” (Reed and Young 24). The poem was therefore not merely appended to the end of the issue as a literary ornament otherwise detached from its political arguments, but figured as part of the political discussions outlined by the rest of the articles.

97) The alliterations emphasize the speaker’s solitude (“separate,” “silence,” “still”). He is trapped in a strange state of unease (“vaguely/ feeling all’s not well”) and an isolation that leads to emotional and creative exhaustion (“too tired to read”). The speaker feels agitated and restless, but he is not able to channel these emotions into activity: “Here I am not surrendered to my poem/ nor master of its words and images” (98). Desperate to find a resolution but incapable of doing so, the conflicting situation in which the poet finds himself leads him to realize that it is impossible to lose oneself in a quasi-romantic death in writing.

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